Mastering Outbound 2.0: Modernizing Cold Calling And ABM Techniques

As an advisor who assists entrepreneurs with sales and marketing, I‘ve seen how many businesses rely heavily on cold calling to drive revenue. However, response rates for traditional cold calling have hit rock bottom. At the same time, account-based marketing (ABM) has emerged as a smarter approach for sales teams targeting major accounts.

Modernizing techniques for outbound calling and aligning with an ABM strategy is critical for sales success today. In this article, I‘ll share research, data, and real-world examples of how entrepreneurs can evolve cold calling to deliver more value.

Cold Calling is Broken – The Hard Data

Cold calling has been a foundational sales technique for decades. But put simply – the traditional approach no longer works. The data reveals why:

  • 1% response rate: On average, only 1 out of every 100 cold calls results in a qualified sales lead, according to
  • 50% never pick up: Half of cold calls go unanswered according to PhoneBurner.
  • 38% feel harassed: In a survey by Harris Poll, 38% said they feel cold calls are a form of harassment.

It‘s clear these abysmal stats are caused by lack of personalization and relevance in most cold calls. In the modern buyer journey, prospects conduct extensive online research before engaging with sales reps. Cold calling fails to reflect that new reality.

The Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

I‘ve seen many clients drive tremendous value by adopting an account-based marketing approach. ABM focuses sales and marketing resources on targeted strategic accounts versus spraying efforts randomly.

Research affirms ABM‘s value:

  • 208% higher win rates: ITSMA reports ABM yields win rates 208% higher on average.
  • 2x larger deal sizes: ABM delivers deal sizes more than twice as large compared to other methods according to ITSMA.
  • 171% higher retention: Account retention improves by 171% with an ABM approach per ITSMA.

I helped one client, a SaaS company, implement ABM last year. By thoroughly researching and engaging key accounts, they increased contract values by 76%!

Modernizing Cold Calling for the Digital Age

Sales teams shouldn‘t abandon cold calling completely. When aligned with an ABM approach, it can still be very effective. Here are 5 ways to modernize cold calling:

1. Leverage Data for Qualified Targets

  • Build detailed buyer personas and target only accounts that match.
  • Incorporate intent data to see who is researching competitors.
  • Use technographics to identify companies using outdated solutions.

2. Personalize Messaging and Outreach

  • Research accounts to reference pain points and challenges.
  • Tailor messaging and offers to resonate for each target.
  • Send personalized videos that relate specifically to their needs.

3. Equip Reps with Deep Knowledge

  • Provide background details and insights about target accounts.
  • Enable reps to speak intelligently about specific needs.
  • Arm reps with case studies, demos, and trials to share.

4. Align Calling with the Broader Strategy

  • Make calls part of a coordinated nurture track.
  • Follow up with valuable content to continue engaging.
  • Build relationships over time through relevant touches.

5. Incorporate New Modalities

  • Use targeted ads and social media to warm up accounts.
  • Consider triggered video and voice messages versus plain calls.
  • Text first to gauge interest before calling.

These tactics have helped my clients modernize their cold calling approach to great success. One client increased connections with key accounts by 45% in just six months.

While parts of cold calling will always remain an art, leveraging data, personalization, and technology can dramatically increase its impact. When combined with the strategic focus of ABM, it transforms into an account-based prospecting approach that delivers results.